What Is Calculus Exactly?

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Wendy Parker RDH

 

Ever heard your hygienist use the words, “build up” or “calculus” while they were cleaning your teeth? Ever wondered what that was, exactly, or what they were talking about?

Growing up, most of us heard about plaque and the importance of removing it daily, but nowadays we hear about bioflim and calculus.  What is this all about? Well, my friends, read on and you’ll find out.

In the dental world, dental plaque has been changed to the term “Biofilm.”It is a more accurate term than plaque. It is more than just the soft fuzzy stuff on your teeth.  Biofilm is everywhere in our surroundings and can form on just about anything. Ranging from clogged drains, to slippery coated rocks, and in your mouth. Biofilm is bacteria’s home. Millions of bacteria stick together in biofilm which adheres to surfaces in moist environments. Biofilms excrete a slimy glue-like substance that sticks to all kinds of materials, including your teeth! Dental plaque IS the yellowish biofilm that builds up on teeth and is composed of a complex baterial community that causes gingivitis, in the mild form, cavities, and periodontal disease, in the more advanced cases.

 staphylococcus_aureus_biofilm_01_cmyk

Typically, you can remove this biofilm, a.k.a. plaque, with your fingernail in the early stages where it still feels like the soft fuzz-like feeling on your teeth.

However, within 48 hours, if undisturbed, it begins to harden and causes gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissues).

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     If still undisturbed, about 10 days later, it becomes calculus (a.k.a. tartar), which is difficult to remove.  But don’t worry, we know a few good hygienists that can take care of that for you!

If, by some chance, the calculus stays there for a long period of time, the bacteria that is making it’s home in your mouth, then begins to affect the surrounding tissues, causing periodontal disease (bone and gum disease).

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     So now that we KNOW what and how we get biofilm and calculus, how do we get rid of it?  The solution is something that we already know and that we have been hearing from the beginning of time.  There is no new shocking treatment, but it’s simple…you have to disrupt the bacteria from forming in your mouth and the best way to do this is to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist/hygienist regularly.  If you wear some kind of appliance at night, like a nightguard or retainer, be sure you are brushing it and soaking it regularly.  Be sure to let us help you with any issues or needs you have to keep your smile working for you!

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Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.colgateprofessional.com/patient-education/articles/what-is-biofilm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_plaque

http://www.dujs.dartmouth.edu

http://www.meadfamilydental.com

www.johngoodmandds.net

www.clipartbest.com

What is a Sealant?

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Katie Moynihan RDH

What is a Sealant?

Dental sealants are thin plastic-like coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of molars to prevent cavities. They work by providing a protective shield over the deep grooves and pits to seal out plaque and food. Often times, your toothbrush bristles do not reach all the way into the grooves to remove plaque and food. Once these vulnerable areas of your teeth are sealed, you can decrease your chance of tooth decay and be on your way to maintaining a healthy mouth!

Sealant 1

How are sealants applied?

In 5 easy steps:

1. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned.

2. It is then dried properly and covered in cotton, so it stays dry.

3. A solution is applied on the tooth to make it rough, so the sealant sticks better.

4. The tooth is rinsed, dried and again covered in cotton, so it stays dry.

5. The sealant material is painted on the tooth and hardened with a light.

Sealant 2

The likelihood of developing pit and fissure decay begins early in life. Sealants are often applied on children as a preventative method once their adult molars come in. However, adults with deep grooves on their teeth can also benefit from sealants. The process is a quick and painless method. Once applied, sealants can withstand the force of normal chewing and last for several years. During your regular dental visits, we will check the condition of the sealant and re-apply as needed.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

Sources:

Hood, Alex. Sealants: A Weapon Against Cavities. http://www.deltadentalar.com/blog/sealants-a-weapon-against-cavities

Dental Sealants. (2013). http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/faqs/sealants.htm

Sealants. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/s/sealants

What is a Dental Implant?

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Amanda Orvis RDH

A dental implant is a titanium post used to replace missing teeth and support dental prosthetics. Implants are surgically guided into the jaw bone and integrate with the bone to support a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge and/or denture.

Success or failure of dental implants can depend on a few factors. Smoking is one of the number one causes of implant failure. Smoking can slow down the healing as well as act as an irritant to the tissue and bone surrounding the implant. Certain prescription medications can affect the integration of the implant with the surrounding bone as well. Stress to the implant due to clenching and/or grinding, also known as bruxing, can also be a significant factor on the success or failure of the implants. All of these potential issues will be discussed during your implant evaluation appointment.

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Individual tooth replacement

For an individual tooth, an implant is selected and placed into the site of the missing tooth. The implant is given 3-6 months time to heal and integrate into the surrounding bone so that it becomes permanently stable. Once the implant has integrated with the surrounding bone the implant is ready to be restored. An impression is taken to allow a custom crown to be fabricated. Once the crown is fabricated, an implant abutment is placed into the implant and secured by a screw. The crown is then cemented in place on top of the implant abutment.

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Implant supported bridge

An implant supported bridge is a group of teeth supported by two or more dental implants. The process of placing an implant supported bridge is very similar to the individual implant placement discussed above. To begin, implants are selected and placed into the sites of two or more missing teeth. The implants are given time to heal and to integrate with the surrounding bone. Once the implants have integrated with the surrounding bone the implants are ready to be restored. An impression is taken to allow a custom bridge to be fabricated. Implant abutments are placed into the implants and then secured with screws. The implant abutments will act as anchors to support the floating teeth between the implants known as pontics. The bridge is then cemented in place on top of the implant abutments.

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Implant Supported Denture

Implant supported dentures can be made to be removable or permanently fixed into the mouth. Removable implant supported dentures can be disconnected from the implant abutments with finger pressure by the wearer. To enable this, the abutment is shaped as a small connector, which can be connected to an adapter on the underside of the denture. A permanently fixed implant supported denture is secured in place by your dentist with screws. Even though dentures are placed, it is still import to note that you must visit with your dentist at least once a year to have your tissue and implants examined.

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Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

 

 

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https://www.google.com/search?q=implant+supported+bridge&rlz=1T4ADRA_enUS397US398&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=p4tjVM-nPI-sogTz8ILQCw&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=1440&bih=708%20-%20facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=ky4WogzaSbnB7M%253A%3BzRnYA9mCT4yCFM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.longislandperio.com%252Ffiles%252F2012%252F01%252F3-unit-implant-bridge_ti-abutments_tcm261-41493.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.longislandperio.com%252Fdental-implants%252#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=BaJFRVOs6xP5WM%253A%3BWRT69acQ4lnnqM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.foralifetimeofsmiles.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2013%252F07%252Fimplant-supported-bridge.gif%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.foralifetimeofsmiles.com%252Foral-surgery%252F%3B400%3B164

https://www.google.com/search?q=types+of+implant+supported+denture&rlz=1T4ADRA_enUS397US398&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=JY1jVJDkCNLSoATo-YDQBg&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=1440&bih=708%20-%20facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=o0SUhE97Ov1DRM%253A%3B9ZakGA12S_8WBM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Floulyprostheticdentistry.com%252Fuploads%252F3%252F2%252F4%252F8%252F3248400%252F6261953.jpg%253F318%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.loulyprostheticdentistry.com%252Fdental-implants

What Is Laser Dentistry?

Peggy

 

Peggy Storr RDH

Just as in other areas of medicine, lasers are increasingly becoming more common in dentistry.  Lasers are instruments that produce a very narrow but intense beam of light. The light can remove or shape tissue. While lasers have been used in dentistry since 1985, its estimated that only 6% of dental offices utilize lasers. With improvements in technology and as the cost of lasers decrease, a greater number of dentists and hygienists will feel confident in incorporating lasers into their treatments.

How are lasers used in dentistry?

Hard Tissue (or Tooth) Laser Procedures

  • Cavity detection: Lasers provide readings of by-products produced by tooth decay
  • Tooth preparation for fillings- dental lasers may soon eliminate the need for anesthetic and the dental drill.
  • Tooth Sensitivity-lasers may be used to seal tubules located on the root of the tooth that are responsible for sensitive teeth.
  • Help treat infections in root canals

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Soft Tissue (or Gum) Laser Procedures

  • Reshaping of gum tissue to expose tooth structure if needed to place a filling
  • Reshaping gum tissue to improve the appearance of a gummy smile
  • Remove inflamed gum tissues and aid in the treatment of gum disease
  • Removing muscle attachments causing “tongue-tie”
  • Removing benign tumors from gums, palate, sides of cheeks and lips
  • Reducing pain and minimize healing of cold sores
  • Treat pain and inflammation of temporomandibular joint disorder

 

While lasers do not yet replace the traditional dental drill, or the instruments the dental hygienist uses to scale teeth, improvements in laser technology will soon offer quicker, more effective and more comfortable procedures than in the past. This is good news for all especially those of you are anxious at the thought of visiting the dentist!

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/laser-use-dentistry

www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-21/dental-lasers

Lesley Ranft, The Future of Dental Lasers, Retrieved from  http://www.Consumer Guide to Dentistry

Lesley Ranft, Laser Dentistry: Enhancing Dental Treatment with Lasers, Retrieved from http://www.Consumer Guide to Dentistry

http://www.Know Your Teeth.com/infobites/abc/article What is Laser Dentistry? http://www.yourdentistryguide.com/laser/

www.dentistrytoday.com300

 

What is a Dental Crown?

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Julie West BS RDH

A dental crown is a manufactured covering that fits over a prepared tooth to protect it from decay or fracture or to protect a tooth that has had root canal treatment. A crown may also be used to replace a tooth that is discolored or poorly shaped due to chipping or defects during formation.

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Typically, the process of getting a crown involves two visits that are two weeks apart. The first visit consists of the dentist removing any decay that may be present and using a dental handpiece to shape and prepare the tooth for a crown to fit over top. An impression will then be taken of the prepared tooth structure. Your dentist or dental assistant will then make a temporary crown that will serve to protect the tooth over the next two weeks while your permanent crown is being made at a dental lab. At your second visit, the permanent crown will be tried in to ensure the color and fit are ideal. If both are satisfactory, the crown will be cemented to the prepared tooth surface.

Sensitivity after a crown is placed is common and may take several weeks to subside. Over the counter pain medication may be used to handle any discomfort. Contact your dentist if the pain persists or gets worse.

Patients should be aware that crowns, like natural teeth, may not last for life. The longevity and durability of your crown is affected by several factors including: your diet, oral homecare with brushing and flossing daily, and the type of material the crown is made out of. Please ask your dentist or dental hygienist if you have any questions.

http://www.marlboroughdental.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/CROWNS.jpg

image source: bendfamilydentist.com

 

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

 Sources:

What is a Root Canal?

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Andra Mahoney RDHBS

So the Doctor has told you that you need a Root Canal Treatment.  What does that mean?  Why is it necessary? And where do you go from here?

Root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp (soft tissue inside your teeth containing blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue) becomes inflamed or diseased.

anatomy-of-a-tooth

 http://culpepperdds.wordpress.com/for-patients/basic-tooth-anatomy/

 During root canal treatment, your dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in treating the insides of teeth) removes the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed.

 

blood cell types

 http://www.dentistsonwashington.com/root-canals/

 If the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result, and your tooth may have to be removed.

Causes of an infected pulp could include:

  • A deep cavity

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  • repeated dental procedures on the same tooth
  • injury to the tooth (even if there’s not a visible crack or chip)
  • a cracked or broken tooth
    Broken Tooth 

http://www.mcardledmd.com/what-it-means-to-have-cts.html

 

If you continue to care for your teeth and gums your restored tooth could last a lifetime. However, regular checkups are necessary; a tooth without its nerve can still develop cavities or gum disease. Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort involving one to three visits. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile.

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 http://faceandjawsurgeryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/perfect-smile.jpg

 

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

 

References:
  http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/r/root-canals

What is Normal?

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Becky Larson RDH

In my short time as a dental hygienist I have had many patient ask me about “weird” things they have noticed inside their mouths. Many patients are worried or scared they might have oral cancer. While oral cancer should be checked regularly, many times the things patients are worried about are completely normal. In general, most mouths have the same or similar anatomy. However, there are variants of normal that one person may experience over another. I have listed a few of these normal variants here:

Tori: A torus or tori (plural) is simply an excessive growth of normal compact bone, either on the floor or roof of the mouth. They develop gradually and are asymptomatic. Tori can grow into many different shapes and sizes and are covered by the normal soft tissues of the mouth. Tori may make taking radiographs very uncomfortable or painful. No treatment is needed unless the patient is having problems speaking or swallowing. Even upon removal tori may grow back.

 

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http://images.radiopaedia.org/images/551480/4e2fd78cc550f4e33c48c0a31a8c64.jpeg

 

Fordyce granules: Fordyce granules are simply a cluster of sebaceous glands (glands that secrete oil, similar to a pimple) inside the mouth. Usually they occur on the inside of the cheeks or on the lips. They are yellow in color and more than 80% of adults over the age of 20 experience them. Fordyce granules are also asymptomatic and do not require treatment.

Lingual varicosities: Lingual varicosities are veins under and on the sides of the tongue. They can be red, blue, or purple in color and generally occur in clusters. Everyone has veins in and around the tongue that may vary in size, shape, or color.

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Linea alba: Linea alba is a raised, white line usually along the inside of the cheek. It occurs as a result of clenching or biting the inside of one’s cheek. No treatment is necessary.

Luekoedema: Leukoedema is a generalized opalescent appearance of the inside of the mouth. It most commonly occurs in black adults but can be seen with any ethnicity. When the mucosa is stretched the opalescence is less noticeable. No treatment is necessary.

Amalgam tattoo: Believe it or not, I have seen tattoos inside the mouth! However, an amalgam tattoo is a little different. These “tattoos” result from previous amalgam (silver) fillings where part of the filling material seeps into the tissue. It creates a bluish-gray lesion and they can occur anywhere an amalgam filling has been placed. Amalgam tattoos can look very similar to oral cancer because of their color. A biopsy can determine the difference. Amalgam tattoos generally do not require treatment.

 

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Fissured tongue: Believed to be a result of familial genetic patterns, this variant is seen in about 5% of the population. It involves deep fissures or grooves on the dorsal (backside) of the tongue. Sometimes the tongue can become irritated if food or bacteria remain in the grooves for an extended period of time. No treatment is needed other than brushing the tongue to remove food/bacteria from the surface.

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http://doctorspiller.com/images/OralAnatomy/Fissured_tongue.jpg

 

Geographic tongue: Geographic tongue appears as small, red patches on the dorsal (backside) of the tongue that are surrounded by a yellow or white perimeter. The appearance is similar to that of landmasses on a globe, hence the name “geographic” tongue. The patches may go away and return again in different areas. Stress can be a contributing factor to this condition. No treatment is needed.

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   Make sure to be aware of what is inside your mouth. We recommended oral cancer screenings at least once per year.

As always, please go see your physician if you experience any of the following:

  • Spots, lesions, or discolorations that remain longer than 2 weeks that were not previously present.
  • Any changes is size, shape, or color to pre-existing lesions.
  • Anything that causes you pain or that your dentist recommends getting checked

Happy Oral Cancer Awareness Month!

Want to learn more? Visit us at http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

Information taken from:

Ibsen, O., and Phelan, J. (2009) Oral Pathology for the Dental Hygienist. St. Louis, Missouri: Saunders Elsevier.

Oral Cancer Detection

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Lora Cook RDH

Your Dentist can play vital role in detecting cancerous cells in the mouth at stage 0 to stage 1.

“According to the National Cancer Institute, most mouth cancers start as small flat cells that are in the lining of the mouth.” These area’s include lips, inside lining of the cheeks, roof or floor of the mouth. Also area’s of the tongue, sides of the tongue and under the tongue. The back of the throat is another area in the mouth that cancer can form. When oral cancer is caught early before it grows deeper into the tissue and progresses into the lymph nodes the outcome for the patient is good.

  • Stage 0 – Is the precancerous stage, this is where cells are identified to be abnormal. They have the potential to develop into tumor.
  • Stage 1 – Is when the primary tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller. In this early stage there are no cancer cells present in the nearby oral tissues or lymph nodes.

So what can the dentist do to catch oral cancer in the precancerous and primary stage of development? Its is called the Velscope! This is a tool used by the dentist to help detect precancerous and cancerous cells in small and early stages not easily seen by the naked eye. This type of exam is more thorough. This scope helps the doctor check for abnormalities just under the tissue surface. It can show where abnormal cells are, months and even years before they become easily visible to just the naked eye.

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http://www.leddental.com

 

Frequently asked questions:

What does the doctor look for?

The scope will direct fluorescence light to find abnormal cells. When looking through the scope healthy tissue will fluoresce, any tissue that is abnormal will appear dark. So the doctor is looking for any dark spots or areas. The dentist and your hygienist will also do a manual exam shown below feeling for lumps or bumps, and unilateral abnormalities.

oral-cancer-screening[1]

http://therightsmile.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/oral-cancer-screening.jpg?w=611&h=611

 

Is radiation involved when using the Velscope?

This exam is very safe, and there is no radiation involved. However the doctor will have you where some orange safety glasses to protect your eyes from the blue LED light from the scope.

How long does the exam take?

This exam takes all of one to two minutes to complete. Just long enough for the doctor to look at all the oral tissue in the mouth looking through the scope.

How often should I have this type of exam?

The doctor recommends thorough oral cancer screenings done at least once yearly.

American Cancer society recommends for people age 20 and older yearly screenings and exams for oral cancer.

 

Want to learn more? Visit us at http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

 

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/22882-early-stages-mouth-cancer/

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/oral-cancer

http://www.ddsgadget.com/ddsgadgetwp/velscop-early-detection-of-oral-cancer/

http://www.leddental.com

Dental Insurance 101

Kim McCrady

Kim McCrady RDH BS

Dental insurance can be a confusing subject to even the savviest subscriber.  Why?  They make it confusing for a reason. Dental insurance companies are in business to make money for their stockholders and to pay out as little as possible on YOUR dental claims. Did you know, on average an insurance company has a goal to pay out less than 35% of your total maximum annual benefits?  That is roughly $350 per patient per year.  That covers routine exams, x-rays and routine dental cleaning twice in a 12-month period of time.   The good news is we are here to help you navigate the gauntlet and get your moneys worth from your plan.

1-     Know your dental insurance plan.  A common mistake is to assume your medical and your dental insurance are the same company.  Almost always, this is not the case.  Interestingly,  many dental insurance companies do not provide you with an ID card.  The solution is to ask your HR department.  They should be able to provide you with the name and the phone number of your dental insurance carrier. EX:

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www.deltadentalva.com

2-     Providing accurate information to your dental office is the first step to getting your claims paid.  You will need your subscriber ID number and the subscribers’ date of birth and the patients date of birth.  You should know many companies still use your social security number to identify you in their system.  If you are uncomfortable with them using your social security number you can request a unique ID number.

3-     Know your annual deductible.  Almost every dental plan has a deductible they require you to satisfy before they begin to pay out benefits on your dental claims.  This deductible can vary in amount.  There are usually individual and family deductibles.  Family deductibles are often three times the individual deductible. Deductibles can apply to any dental service billed to your insurance company.

4-     Many plans do NOT reset your annual benefits in January.  You should know your benefit year.  This is important so you do not leave unused benefits to the insurance plan.  By knowing your plan year, you can maximize your coverage.

5-     Your plan has a maximum amount of benefits they will pay on each family member each benefit year.  The average maximum benefit is $1500 per year.

6-     Although your plan has a maximum amount of benefits per year that are earmarked for your care, the insurance companies pay out your benefits on a percentage scale, NOT at 100% per claim until you have reached your maximum.   This scale usually has three categories for dental services:

1-Preventative

2-Basic

3-Major

Each insurance company places dental services into a category.  It is important to know how your plan categorizes services so you can better understand you estimated coverage from you dental plan.

7-     When your dental office estimates insurance coverage for the dental services you are receiving from the office, it is only as ESTIMATE.  Any time you or your dental office call your insurance carrier, the insurance company representatives often read a disclaimer to inform you a description of benefits is NOT a guarantee of payment.  It can be very difficult to provide an accurate estimate of insurance coverage.  You should expect a down payment for your care and a balance bill after your carrier has processed your claim.

8-     Once your dental claim has processed and your plan has paid their percentage of the services to your dentist, you receive an explanation of benefits (EOB).  Many people do not even open their EOB’s and read them.   They can be very complex, but very informative.  EOB’s include the fees billed to your plan for services rendered, payments made by the insurance company on your claim and the patient portion for the services.  Often, your plan will include any notes explaining adjustments to payments, including subjecting the claim to frequency limits for services, other exclusions including a feature referred to as down coding.

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www.bcbs.com

9-     Down coding is a loophole insurance companies have instituted that allows them to pay their contracted percentage on a lesser service.  The two most common down coded procedures are tooth colored crowns and tooth colored fillings on back (posterior) teeth.   For example, if a tooth colored filling costs $200 and you have 80% coverage on basic services, most plans will not pay the $160.  They will “down code” to minimize their responsibility for the services.   Therefore, the claim will be received at $200, subjected to your deductible, down coded to a fee for a lesser service, such as a silver filling at $140.  Assuming a $50 deductible, the insurance will pay their 80% on $90 instead of $200.  This nets a total insurance payment of $72 on your $200 claim and a $128 patient portion.

10- But what if you have a secondary plan to help with your dental claims? Be careful and DO NOT assume your secondary plan will pick up the patient portion for your primary claim.  You need to be sure you know if your secondary plan has a “non-duplication of benefits clause”.  This means your secondary plan will only pay the difference between what your primary plan covered and what they would have covered if they had been primary.  For example, if a claim is submitted for $1000 for dental services to your primary insurance company and your primary covers the service at 50% (assuming the deductible is satisfied and there is no down coding) the primary should pay $500.  If you have a non-duplication of benefits clause, the secondary will not pay the patient balance of $500 to complete the claim if, they too, would have covered the services at 50%.  But let’s say the secondary plan had 60% coverage for the services rendered and would have paid $600 on the claim.    Then they should make payment of an additional $100 so the total insurance payments received between the two plans is equal to the payment they would have made, had they been the primary plan.  Secondary insurance often is most beneficial when the primary plan has been maxed out and the secondary begins to pay benefits for care.

In plain English, dental insurance is very different than medical.  There are no set co-payments for each office visit.  Each visit is considered by your plan once it is received and processed according to the guidelines and limitations of your plan.  There are thousands of dental plans with thousands of loopholes and limitations.  And it seems the limitations are changing on a daily basis.

Your best bet to successfully utilize your dental insurance coverage is to join forces with your dental office administrators.   They spend hours obtaining breakdowns of benefits, applying this information to your care plan, sending the claim with all supporting documentation, following up on the claim weekly to assure payment on your behalf and will often have to repeat the process for you when the insurance company claims to have not received the information.  Be kind to them.  They are working for you to get you more than the average 35% of your benefits.

Want to learn more? Visit us at http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com/

Essential Oils

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Lora Cook RDH

     Recently several of my patients have asked me some questions about essential oils. To be honest I have a very limited knowledge of the subject. I hate when I don’t have all the answers for my patients. So I thought what better way to learn more about the subject then to write about it.

    However, let me preface this information with a reminder that while these essential oils can provide effective preventive and palliative care, it is not a substitute for dental care. If you have a cavity or a toothache please do not hesitate to give us a call. Periodontal disease and cavities left untreated will only become worse over time.

     As dental professionals we rely on tested clinical research and published research studies wither certain guidelines to substantiate any therapeutic claims and demonstrate effectiveness. However with essential oils there is little published research, because several problems present in trying to conduct research on essential oils. First, essential oils are not standardized. Synthetic Pharmaceuticals are reproduced to be identical, where as essential oils cannot be produced to be identical. Second, while conducting research on essential oils it is difficult to gage for individual differences in how the oils affect people. Also little funding is provided for research on homeopathic remedies. More research studies are done for synthetic therapeutics because these follow the usual scientific research path.

The Essential oils that I would like to talk about are:

  1. Cinnamon oil: bark and leaf
  2. Tea Tree oil
  3. Myrrh
  4. Clove oil
  5. Peppermint oil

1. Cinnamon:

product-rcd-346

risdoninternational.com

  • Leaf oil is primarily useful for palliative care. It may be effective in reducing pain and inflammation.
  •  Cinnamon Bark Oil has antibacterial qualities, it has been shown to effectively destroy 21 different types of bacteria.
  • How to use: You can rinse with diluted cinnamon oil after brushing, or put some on your tooth paste. Cinnamon oil is very strong and should not be ingested. Also some people have been known to have allergic reactions to cinnamon oil, so test in a small area of your mouth first.

2. Tea Tree Oil: This oil is effective for antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties.

  • If you have a allergy to celery or thyme, you should not use this oil. Also just like the cinnamon oil, tea tree oil is very strong and should not be ingested.
  • How to use: There are wooded toothpicks that have been impregnated with tea tree oil. These can be found at a health food store, or purchased on-line. You can also mix a small amount with your toothpaste, then brush.

3. Myrrh: This is effective for mouth sores.

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doterrablog.com

  • How to use: Mix 1 to 2 drops in eight ounce glass of warm water, swish for thirty seconds then spit.

myrrh_gum_resin

http://www.mountainroseherbs.com

4. Clove Oil: This is effective for toothaches, also known to sooth sore gums.

cloves

libweb5.princeton.edu

  • How to use: Mix one drop with a plant based carrier oil, olive oil wood be a good carrier oil to use. Then apply with a cotton swab. For gum tissue and other oral tissues mix 1 to 2 drops in eight ounce glass of warm water, swish for thirty seconds then spit.

5. Peppermint Oil: This oil is effective in treating bad breath, it also has mild anesthetic properties.

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www.lalaessentialoils.com

  • How to use: Mix two drops of peppermint oil with two cups of distilled water. Shake we’ll before each use, swish a mouthful for one minute then spit. All essential oils should not be ingested, and always consult your medical physician before starting any type of therapy at home.

There are other essential oils that are effective for oral health that I did not include in this overview: basil, almond and lavender, just to name a few.  I hope that these basic guidelines can shed a bit more light on the subject.  All essential oils should not be ingested, and always consult your medical physician before starting any type of therapy at home.

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/284574-cinnamon-oil-for-cavities/

http://www.teatree.co.il/en/Files/oral.pdf

http://www.intelligentdental.com/2010/11/30/how-to-use-tea-tree-oil-for-dental-health/

http://birchhillhappenings.com/mouth.htm